Stage set for Global Entrepreneurship Forum

Representatives from member countries of the Asian Entrepreneurship Alliance formed in Riyadh on Tuesday are posing for a souvenir pix. Fifth from left is Secretary General and Director General of the Centennial Fund, Dr. Abdulaziz Almutairi.

Representatives from member countries of the Asian Entrepreneurship Alliance formed in Riyadh on Tuesday are posing for a souvenir pix. Fifth from left is Secretary General and Director General of the Centennial Fund, Dr. Abdulaziz Almutairi.


A 21-member Asian Entrepreneurship Alliance was formed at the Second Global Entrepreneurship Forum 2015, which was flagged off at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Riyadh on Tuesday.

Representatives from the Kingdom, South Korea, Bangladesh, China, India, Nepal, the Maldives, Japan, Jordan, Indonesia, Kuwait, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Lebanon, the UAE and Vietnam inked the agreements during the forum sessions.

The new alliance is expected to bring the signatories to the agreements to a common platform to boost the entrepreneurship among the youths of the respective countries.

Michael Lee from South Korea told Arab News that the new alliance will open up new areas for cooperation among the member countries in the area of entrepreneurship. “We have been toying with the idea of organizing a special program for young entrepreneurs, and finally achieved forming a new alliance for the Asian countries,” Lee said.

He added that the structure, functions and the location of the headquarters are yet to be decided at subsequent meetings.

Abdulaziz Almutairi, secretary general and director general of the Centennial Fund, signed on behalf of the Kingdom.

Almutairi said the Global Entrepreneurship Forum (GEF) is an annual event that gathers international leaders in business and entrepreneurship in one location for the purpose of sharing insights, exchanging best practices, and generating exposure for the latest trends and innovations in the global community of entrepreneurs.

The Centennial Fund (TCF) launched this initiative in 2011 as an extension of the annual Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah International Award for Entrepreneurship.

Innovation in social enterprise is the theme of this year’s forum as the GEF explores the viability of solving a variety of social issues, both locally and globally, through the vehicle of entrepreneurship.

The future of entrepreneurship in the Kingdom looks bright and prosperous, as indicated by the presence of several factors required for successful business industry leadership, including viable human capital in the Kingdom’s youth, the availability of funds for capital investment in new ventures and the King’s vision of Riyadh as the world’s capital of entrepreneurship in the next decade.”

The Centennial Fund has launched more than 20 initiatives and strategic partnerships, including Youth Business International, the G20, the Global Entrepreneurship Forum — held annually in Riyadh. It also launched G20 Young Entrepreneurs Alliance, the Gulf Cooperative Council Union of Entrepreneurs, Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah International Award for Entrepreneurship, and the Clinton Global Initiative under the auspices of former US President Bill Clinton.

TCF has established Centennial Valley in conjunction with local universities to serve as an incubator for entrepreneurs. TCF has also announced the launch of the International Academy of Entrepreneurs.

Amer Bukuvit from Bosnia and Heerzegovina, who was the moderator at the first session of the forum, told Arab News: “It’s time for the nations to groom the young entrepreneurs and train them according to the needs of the country. It has to be win-win situation.”

Former Prime Minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina Zlatko Lagumdzua said education and economy of a country should go together for the prosperity of a nation. Every nation has a social responsibility to provide adequate security for businesses, which will eventually promote its economy.

Samantha Caccoma, founder and CEO of Swiss-based Social Business Earth (SBE), described the forum as a fantastic concept to bring young entrepreneurs to get new ideas through exchange of experiences.

SBE is an international consulting and advisory service firm based in Lugano, Switzerland, that utilizes the model of social business, a concept developed by Nobel Peace Laureate Muhammad Yunus, to maximize the social impact of businesses, charities, philanthropists and government entities.

In addition, SBE offers social business incubation services to entrepreneurs who are launching their own social business startups and assisting them with their business plan and strategy.

Feasible social business ideas alone are considered.

SBE is officially recognized by the government of Canton Ticino, Switzerland as an organization of social utility that does not distribute dividends.

Fernando H.F. Botelho from F123 said his company has low-cost software, which will help the visually impaired to do their studies and office work. He said he is looking for business partners in the Gulf region.


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